US has failed in Iraq: Assad
* Syrian president says attacks targeting US-led occupation forces amount to ‘resistance’
* Slams Israel over its policy of targeted killings
DAMASCUS: The US occupying force in Iraq has not liberated the country and has failed to bring the promised peace and democracy, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview aired on Saturday by the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television channel.
The United States “has not liberated Iraq, nor installed democracy, nor improved the standard of living in the country. It is certainly one (an occupation). Even they say that. They have failed in Iraq that’s for sure,” said Assad in a wide-ranging interview lasting around 90 minutes, extracts of which had been aired on Wednesday. The United States may slap sanctions on Syria “very soon” under a law meant to punish Damascus for allegedly supporting terrorism and seeking unconventional weapons, the White House warned Friday.
In comments unlikely to deter Washington from such action, Assad said that attacks targeting US-led occupation forces in Iraq amount to “resistance”.
“What happened at the popular level (in Iraq) confers legitimacy on the resistance and confirms that most of what is happening amounts to resistance,” he told Al-Jazeera news channel.
“Some of the actions kill civilians, and the Iraqis too don’t approve of those. I distinguish (between attacks on military and civilian targets),” he added.
US officials attribute the ongoing violence in Iraq to foreign fighters linked to the Al Qaeda network who they say enter the country via various borders, including Syria’s. They accuse Damascus of doing too little to prevent forces looking to attack the US-led coalition from crossing into Iraq.
“Is it possible that all those, the hundreds of thousands, the millions, resisting the occupation — in various ways, not necessarily military resistance only — are (affiliated to) Al Qaeda or are all supporters of the (deposed) regime of Saddam Hussein?” Assad asked.d.
He said that dialogue with Washington was continuing “but that doesn’t mean that relations are good. There are elements at the heart of the American administration who refuse dialogue while others judge it important”.The Syrian leader berated Israel over its policy of assassinations, and reiterated his country’s support for Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat “despite major political differences”. —AFP